Nepal: Lawyers call on the Nepal Bar Association to prioritize efforts to counter harmful gender stereotypes and discriminatory behaviour toward women

Practicing lawyers in Nepal identified harmful gender stereotypes and gender discriminatory behaviours towards women as a major barrier preventing women from accessing justice. They requested that the Nepal Bar Association take the lead in efforts to enhance women’s access to justice.

ICJ co-hosted a workshop for lawyers with the Nepal Bar Association  on the Elimination of Gender Discriminatory Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Women and Enhancing Access to Justice for Women on 31 March-1 April 2023.

Some  35 legal practitioners from Kaski, Baglung, Syangja, Myagdi, Gulmi, Parbat and Palpa of Gandaki and Lumbini Province participated in the Workshop. These legal practitioners evaluated the practical difficulties that women face in the administration of justice, including lack of effective legal aid support, lack of awareness about the legal framework protecting women’s rights, prevailing discriminatory laws as well as discriminatory and stereotypical behaviors of justice actors towards women service seekers are major barriers for women in accessing justice The participants identified strategies to enhance access to justice for women, with the Nepal Bar Association expected to play a key role.

Senior Advocate Gopal Krishna Ghimire, President of Nepal Bar Association expressed NBA’s commitment to advocate for countering gender stereotypes and enhancing women’s access to justice.

The objective of the workshop was to identify gender stereotypical thinking and discriminatory practices in the Nepalese justice system and the legal profession and formulate strategies to countering and reversing those attitudes and practices to so as to better facilitate access to justice for women.

Ms. Bandana Rana, a member of UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said that harmful gender stereotypes harms women in many aspects of their lives, including their leadership role, which could make them more vulnerable to abuses and gender-based violence.

Senior advocate Prof. Geeta Pathak Sangroula discussed the importance of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and highlighted principle of equality, non – discrimination and state obligation under the CEDAW. She asked the legal practitioners to internalize the CEDAW into their day-to-day work.

A panel of experts led the workshop, including UN CEDAW Committee Member Bandana Rana, Senior Advocate Prof. Geeta Pathak Sangroula, Senior Advocate Sunil Kumar Pokharel, Advocate Kedar Prasad Koirala, Advocate Asst. Prof. Rukmini Maharjan, Advocate Asst. Prof. Amrit Kharel, Advocate Kalpana Bhandari, Advocate Laxmi Devi Rawal and Advocate Mina Kumari Ranabhat.

The Workshop was held in Pokhara from 31 March to 1 April and organized under the ‘Enhancing Access to justice for women in Asia and the Pacific’ project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). It was implemented jointly with UN Women and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights.

Contact

Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh – Lead, Women’s Access to Justice Project, International Commission of Jurists, t: +27 84 514 8039 e: Kaajal.Keogh@icj.org

Laxmi Pokharel, National Legal Adviser – Nepal, International Commission of Jurists, t: +9779851047588, e: laxmi.pokharel@icj.org

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